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Full text of "Alexander von Humboldt"

WILLIAM  VON  HUMBOLDT.                  317
linguists there, before all,, D, Pablo Pedro d&
Asterloa, pastor of Durango. He examined the
important manuscripts this pastor had collected, and
made extracts or verbatim copies from his great vet
unpublished work. Another linguist whom he visited
was the pastor Moguel, in Marquina, one of the first
philologians in Biscay, who translated the com-
mencement of the " Sallustian Catiline"" for Hum-
boldt,
Humboldt was, however,  not equally successful in
attaining all the purposes of his journey.    "It was,"
he says., "one of the principal objects of my journey to
Biscay, to find the traces which might still exist of the
oldest history and oldest condition of the people., in old
sagas or in national songs.    But I was quite disap-
pointed in the hope of finding anything of importance.
In   no  other country has the mistaken zeal   of the
earliest Christian inhabitants  been  so  successful in
destroying  all   traces   of  heathen   antiquity.      It  is
impossible to attain a satisfactory account of the con-
stitution, religion, or manners of the ancient Basques;
and but a very   few traces of these old times have
survived in the language, the popular names of the
months and days, a few proper names, national dances
or fables/' Of old songs he could only find one very
imperfect fragment,  whose age also seemed to him
doubtful for many reasons.    He met with it in a col-
lection of manuscripts in the Jiouse of M. Heugartegui,
of Marquina,
Humboldt noted down his remarks on the spot
where he made them, and then hastened back to
Paris to his family- His interest in the Basque
nations remained equally strong for years, but the
change of residence, as well as of occupation, prevented
his publishing the results of his researches until a
much later period.
In the summer of 1801 the whole family returned
to Berlin through Erfurt and Weimar, and Hved there
and in Tegel a year. During this time the youngest
daughter Gabriele was'born.